5) Nier (360 / PS3) – Nier was my surprise game of 2010. I wasn't expecting much from it, and thus, I was pleasantly surprised when it became a game I couldn't put down. It's been some time since there was a game that didn't begin with "NHL" that I could sit in front of for more than two hours, and Nier broke that streak. Although this Action RPG is quite simple at its core, the battles are fast and fun; not to mention, the boss battles are pretty epic. The game's atmosphere engages and sweeps you up in the journey. The awesome soundtrack is to thank for some of that, while the engaging story that you constantly wonder where it's going contributes the rest. With multiple endings and player choices, Nier just never skips a beat. Nier simply captured me in a way that few games have as of late. What can I say? It certainly left an impression on me.
4) Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth (DS) – Miles Edgeworth has always walked the line between good and evil; you never really knew for sure where he stood on the moral compass. Deep down, you wanted him to be the good guy, but suspicions of ulterior motives persisted even when he was heroic. With Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth, we finally get a glimpse into the mind of good ole' Edgey poo. In this game, you discover what Edgeworth is really made of and exactly what goes on in his mind when trying to solve a case. Here you learn what Edgeworth thinks a true prosecutor should be. I confess, I was very attached to other Ace Attorney characters, like my Pearls, but this game manages to introduce a new cast that is also extremely likeable. Capcom kept their fanbase in mind when they created this title, which has tons of cameos from characters of past Ace Attorney games. Adding the new logic aspect to the gameplay, where you link evidence together, helps makes cases easier to understand. All-in-all, a solid, addictive title that is difficult to put down. After all, who can resist a game where you work with Gumshoe, right pal?
3) Rune Factory 3: A Fantasy Harvest Moon (DS) – Rune Factory 3 is hands-down the best game to come out of the Harvest Moon realm and that's why it deserves a spot on my top five. The game improves on its predecessors in just about everything it possibly can. Not to mention it has one of the most engaging casts yet. I really couldn't decide who marry. It also finally adds online play in which you can take down dungeons with friends. It's hard to deny when a game gets it right and makes everything about it better. Last year, Rune Factory Frontier won my GOTY award, and to be honest, Rune Factory 3 surpassed the magic of that game. It's really that special.
2) Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep (PSP) – Hey, that character looks like Roxas! And that thought alone was reason enough for me to play Birth by Sleep, but I didn't actually expect it to be as good as it was. Birth By Sleep comes back with Kingdom Hearts' addictive combat that's oh-so-fluid along with an equally engaging story that's shockingly coherent (c'mon we've all had those moments when we felt lost in this series). Playing through three different characters' stories to see their different perspectives is also great. Not to mention the game just translates incredibly well to the PSP's tiny screen. I've been anxiously awaiting a Kingdom Hearts 3 announcement, and this entry in the series does more than enough to satiate my Kingdom Hearts need. Birth by Sleep surpassed all my expectations and then some; it's truly the most locked into my PSP I've been in ages and probably the most fun I've had with it this year.
1) Heavy Rain (PS3) – "How far would you go to save someone you love?" These words from Heavy Rain still haunt me and continue to make me ponder my answer to that question. I've never had a game have such a profound effect on me. Heavy Rain is a game where every choice matters and if you screw up, you could end up killing off a main character. The ending also took me completely by surprise, which lately most games haven't achieved. Heavy Rain gave me goose bumps in a good way, and I'm not sure there has ever been a game I cared about my actions in as much as I did in Heavy Rain. Therefore, there's no contest, this is my game of the year.
Biggest Disappointment: Final Fantasy XIII (PS3 / 360)
Most Addictive Game: NHL 11 (PS3 / 360)
Best PC to Console Conversion: Sims 3 (PS3 / 360)